The AP win­ner

Richard McVeigh

Amateur Photographer - - Christmas Cover Competition -

‘I STARTED tak­ing pho­tog­ra­phy se­ri­ously 12 years ago when I bought a Canon EOS 350D. I tried a bit of ev­ery­thing to find out what I might be good at.

‘I’ve been in­ter­ested in steam engines for a long time, and have al­ways felt they go per­fectly with pho­tog­ra­phy. I reg­u­larly visit her­itage rail­ways, but it wasn’t un­til I learned about photo char­ter com­pa­nies that I learned how it would be pos­si­ble to get im­ages from bet­ter lo­ca­tions. They work by some­one ar­rang­ing a spe­cific lo­co­mo­tive and set of goods with the rail­way – then they sell places and you take pot luck with the weather! This pho­to­graph was taken at an event with 30742 Char­ters last Jan­uary, at the Chur­net Val­ley Rail­way in Stafford­shire. I drove up the night be­fore and stayed in a ho­tel nearby. At 2am I woke up and looked out the win­dow, and thought, “Wow!” I’ve been pho­tograph­ing steam engines for many years, but have only ever had one other day like this.

‘Ac­cess is ex­cel­lent on a char­ter like this. We travel in the goods van of the train, stop, find a spot, then the train backs up and the driver waits for the leader to ra­dio and say it’s OK for him to move. The lo­co­mo­tives never go any faster than 25mph, and it was prob­a­bly do­ing about 15-20mph in this shot, so I had plenty of time to line up my shot.

‘It was im­por­tant when ex­pos­ing to keep de­tail in both the lo­co­mo­tive and the snow. I al­ways shoot on man­ual, so I ex­posed for the snow with­out the lo­co­mo­tive in it, then opened up a stop or so. It was a bal­anc­ing act of hav­ing suf­fi­cient depth of field to en­sure the lo­co­mo­tive was sharp, a fast enough shut­ter speed to freeze the ac­tion, and a low enough ISO to pre­vent noise.

‘I don’t of­ten en­ter com­pe­ti­tions as I never think my pic­tures are good enough, but this has cer­tainly given me a boost. My daugh­ter is al­ways push­ing me to fur­ther my pho­tog­ra­phy, and I now have a col­lec­tion of mounted prints, so I plan to do some craft fairs next year and push for­ward with that.’

Richard’s im­age of a steam lo­co­mo­tive was pop­u­lar with all our judges Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm at 32mm, 1/125sec at f/7.1, ISO 200

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